New Study Shows Benefits Of Walnuts To Gut Health

One of the most misunderstood aspects of health is that of the gut and digestive system. Digestive issues are downright ubiquitous; they can be caused by many different things and they can also lead to additional health troubles and concerns. In a new study conducted at Louisiana State University, it was found that walnuts can actually positively contribute to the health of the gut by increasing good bacteria.

Walnuts have been dubbed a superfood because of their compositional makeup. They are full of necessary, beneficial components such as alpha-linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. The nut also contains one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants. Its elements of fiber may be what contribute to its powerful abilities within the digestive system. This study took on finding out exactly why walnuts are essential to the gut.

The Findings

They conducted the study using a rodent model and introduced walnuts to one group while the other was not. The gut bacteria of the rodents was then measured after a specific amount of time and the numbers of the test group that did ingest walnuts was vastly healthier. In fact, the walnut-exposed test group showed a noticeably improved amount of gut bacteria in the descending colon.

The amount of healthy bacteria was increased in the walnut test group. A very important distinction to make in the findings is not only the amount of good bacteria that was easily observed but that the functional capacity of the bacteria was superior. An important bacteria called Lactobacillus was also located in the results.

“We found that walnuts in the diet increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut, and other non-related studies have associated less bacterial diversity with obesity and other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease. Walnuts increased several bacteria, like Lactobacilus, typically associated with probiotics suggesting walnuts may act as a prebiotic,” explained the lead researcher.

The Questions

There is so much unknown about gut health and the reactions the gut has to many different foods and environmental factors. There are largely still a lot of questions associated with the digestive system and how it operates. These types of studies provide quantifiable information as a physiological mechanism to improve health. This is why science and research are so vital – especially in a world that moves at the speed of light. Understanding that eating a few walnuts a day can potentially change your gut health issues would be life shifting for so many.

Many autoimmune conditions have been thought to be linked to gut health in some way. Painful conditions that have a whole slew of symptoms could be better treated just by taking better care of the gut. Typically, the issues aren’t as serious and expansive as those examples. Even so, if the extent of your digestive issues is gas, bloating and occasional nausea, finding a quick fix that will help to regulate your digestive system is a Godsend. No one wants to struggle to go to the bathroom or deal with feeling too full after a holiday party.

Incorporating things like walnuts and other gut-positive foods could be the true antidote for these issues that seem to elude the medical community. With this type of concrete information followed by results, we can better heal ourselves with natural foods and not rely on other, less effective methods.

 

 

 

Foods That Fight Allergies

Vitamin E
Nuts, especially almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts, are a good source of vitamin E, which helps to minimize inflammation. Eat a single one ounce serving of any of these nuts daily year round to help prevent symptoms. If you do have symptoms, increase the servings or add a few tablespoons of peanut butter as well.

Omega 3’s
Cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, and sardines as well as walnuts and flaxseed contain omega 3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation. Eat at least two servings of cold water fish each week year round, and three servings during the seasons when you experience airborne allergies. Flaxseed can be added easily too, as it can be found in supplement form.

Zinc
Oysters, shrimp, crab, legumes, whole grains, and tofu are all high in zinc, which has antibacterial and antiviral effects that provide relief for immune systems that are overworked by fighting allergies. Have 6 oysters, 6 shrimp, or a few crabs each week, and twice that when allergies flare. Also have one serving of whole grains, beans, or tofu daily.

Tea
Whether green, white, or black, tea is full of flavonoids, plant compounds that reduce inflammation. Tea also increases proteins in the body that fight infection, again relieving an overtaxed immune system. Have at least one cup a day, and double that when allergies are in season. Have it early in the morning to stimulate the tiny hairs in the nose that keep pollen and dust away.

 

What Your Food Cravings Really Mean

If you’re craving a steak or a burger:
Cravings for red meat can signal a lack of iron, or conjugated linoleic acid, which is a fatty acid that helps your body burn stored fat. A healthier option to replace iron is dark, leafy greens like spinach. This is especially beneficial if your diet is high in fat or carbohydrates. Try incorporating smaller amounts of red meat into your diet so that you don’t go overboard when you do indulge.

If you’re craving baked goods:
This usually indicates that your blood glucose levels are fluctuating. The stress hormone cortisol triggers the release of glucose, and thereby insulin to regulate it. The sugars and carbohydrates in baked goods raise levels of blood sugar and serotonin, which is a brain chemical that invokes feelings of happiness. Instead, try a piece of fruit or a glass of 100% fruit juice. Not only will the natural sugars help level you out, but they also provide nutrients like vitamin C that you can’t get from a brownie.

If you’re craving chocolate:
Chocolate contains an amino acid called phenylalanine, which is essential in the body’s production of brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals enhance mood, and reduce pain. A better choice is dark chocolate as it has less sugar and more cacao. Another option is to mix unsweetened cocoa powder with skim milk and add a natural sugar substitute like Stevia.

If you’re craving French fries:
This usually means you’re lacking sodium, or experiencing a blood sugar imbalance caused by cortisol. The simple carbs in potatoes break down to glucose, and the salt will satisfy your need for sodium. The healthy alternative is salted nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts. These are full of sodium as well as healthy omega 3 fatty acids. The protein found in nuts will help keep your energy up as well.